Open thread: Capitals vs. Blackhawks

April 11

 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jaroslav Halak (28-13-7, 2.29 goals-against average, .919 save percentage) will make his first start since April 4 at New Jersey. It is also his first appearance since the drama earlier this week in which Coach Adam Oates said the netminder didn’t feel “100 percent comfortable” facing his old team in St. Louis only to have Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, dispute that claim and criticize the bench boss for airing a private conversation publicly.

Oates said he wanted to split the back-to-back games, noting Braden Holtby’s 38-shot workload in Thursday’s 5-2 win at the Carolina Hurricanes. Holtby is expected to start the season finale on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Asked if he had cleared the air with Halak, Oates replied: “Yep, all good.”

If you’re less concerned with the Capitals’ penultimate game of the season and wondering more about how they reached the point where they will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, check out the following.

Capitals problems began long before their playoff streak ended

Faceoff: 7 p.m., Verizon Center

TV: CSN+ | Radio: 106.7 FM

Here is the Capitals’ lineup:

Forwards
Grabovski-Backstrom-Ovechkin
Penner-Johansson-Brouwer
Chimera-Fehr-Ward
Kuznetsov-Beagle-Wilson

Defense
Alzner-Carlson
Orlov-Strachan
Brouillette-Carrick

Goal:  Halak, Holtby
Scratches: Mike Green (upper-body), Patrick Wey and Jack Hillen (suspected concussions), John Erskine and Aaron Volpatti.
LTIR: Brooks Laich (groin).

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